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June 28, 2021

Mid-size fashion is going mainstream

Fashion retailers are starting to become more size-inclusive and think about sizing in a wider continuum thanks to a rise in the mid-size demographic, new data suggests.

By Michelle Russell

The latest figures from personalisation platform True Fit shows that a growing cohort of midsize fashion shoppers are seeing apparel brands begin to blur the lines between standard and plus sizing.

Original insight from True Fit’s Fashion Genome shows a growth in mid-sizes (UK 12-18) amongst shoppers. Globally, 38% of female True Fit users are mid-size, rising to 42% of women in the UK and 39% in the US, while in Europe this is slightly lower, with 30% of women represented by those within the mid-size range.

This rising mid-size demographic, True Fit suggests, is prompting brands and retailers to start blurring the lines between standard and plus sizes, with many now offering mid sizing to cater for both and thinking about sizing in terms of a wide range continuum, versus the rigid segments of the past.

As of May 2021, True Fit’s data shows the majority of retailers on its platform now carry upwards of 90% of their catalogue in mid-size ranges, suggesting that sizing is becoming more inclusive with some of the UK’s leading retailers already taking steps to promote size inclusivity.

High street fashion retailer H&M, for example, has taken steps to becoming more size-inclusive with the recent launch of its H&M+ range and announcement that some of its main lines would now go up to 2XLs. Meanwhile, Mango followed suit with its Violetta range to offer greater ranging across its clothing and footwear and fast fashion pureplay, Asos, launched Asos Curve, which now carries 1,789 women’s styles and in March announced it would carry greater size ranging across its menswear offer too.

The mid-size segment is a growing category in the US, with the percentage of mid-size sales increasing to 52% in 2020 (compared to 44% in 2017), True Fit’s data showed. UK and EU mid-size sales decreased in 2020, down 11% and 5% respectively compared to 2017, however, any decreases in mid-size purchases have corresponded directly with increased purchasing in plus-size ranges. So, if mid-size purchases went down 5%, True Fit saw an increase in plus size by a similar percentage.

“Diversity and inclusion has become increasingly important for consumers – from readdressing gender diversity gaps to recognising gender fluidity in merchandising and adopting more sustainable practices, there is a growing trend for shoppers to, quite literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves as they demand ‘better’ when choosing who they shop with,” says Sarah Curran Usher, MD EMEA at True Fit.

“Size inclusivity has long been an issue the fashion has struggled to shake, but the rise in mid-size shoppers – a new cohort which is now blurring the lines between traditional standard and plus sizes – is paving the way for a more diverse ranging and greater accessibility to styles for all sizes. It has also prompted retailers to take the opportunity to serve an as yet untapped demographic, which has so far been ‘unseen’ by the industry – creating a valuable new segment. And that means the onus is on fashion retailers to be able to track and react to insights from these macro data trends in order to continue to evolve their offer to meet their customers’ needs.”

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